Harriet Harman

Clause One principles

First published in Progress magazine

Time to convince fellow members of Labour’s founding purpose

The Labour party was founded as the Labour Representation Committee in 1900 by Keir Hardie and others to secure parliamentary representation of labour, because he and the founding trade unions had concluded that marches and placard-waving were insufficient to achieve the political reforms that their union members needed.

That is why Clause One of the Labour party rulebook says the purpose of the Labour party is to ‘maintain in parliament and the country a political Labour party’. It was a commitment to parliamentary and democratic change, a rejection of the syndicalist and revolutionary Marxists’ argument for extra-parliamentary change – currently referred to as a social movement – and it reflected the rejection of the ‘class war’ resolution at the 1900 founding conference of the Labour Representation Committee. Those who argue that Labour should secure change primarily be means of protest alone have challenged Labour’s founding principles every time we have lost power: 1931, 1951, 1979 and again today. It falls to our generation to defend our Clause One principles. But if we get it right, the Clause One socialists will win again (more…)

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‘It’s moved from comedy to tragedy’

First published in Progress magazine

The Labour party still has a long road to walk on women’s equality, Ayesha Hazarika tells Richard Angell

pinkbusrevealed-768x464 (more…)

Burnham and Cooper must move towards the centre

First published on the Times Redbox

The chances of Jeremy Corbyn seizing the Labour leadership have consumed the debate this week. Corbyn will not become leader of the Labour party. Instead, what is currently being missed is the impact that he is having on the race: dragging Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper to a position that could win them this selection, but not the 2020 election. (more…)

Gone are the days you can tack left to win the party and then to the centre to win the country

Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper should be careful about trying to court Jeremy Corbyn’s second preferences

First published on Independent Voices

The six o’clock news led with the story that 35 of Jeremy Corbyn’s parliamentary colleagues had seen fit to put him on the ballot paper to be Labour’s new leader. Shortly after a family member rang me to ask: “Is he a serious candidate?”

David Cameron’s time as leader of the opposition was characterised by symbols – hug a hoodie, huskies on the polar ice cap and the like. Labour seems to be offering its own symbols to the electorate. Harriet Harman’s attempts to move Labour towards the centre – and therefore towards the voters – on the difficult issues of welfare and cuts will be one. The party’s recoiling from her position will be another – and not in a good way. Anything making Corbyn appear as a serious contender will compound matters. Reports of private polling suggesting he could win or secure a place in the shadow cabinet if he does not win, will bring home the point. In a race that is inspiring to so few, these facts risk scaring so many we need to win back. (more…)